UK Bookmakers Desperate To Soften Crackdown On FOBTs
British bookmakers are doing everything in their power to try to soften the impending blow planned by the government on the ever lucrative FOBTs. Last month’s tax rise from 20 to 25 percent announced by Finance Minister George Osborne has got UK bookmakers reeling.
With over 33,000 FOBT’s country wide the major bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes are set to lose these lucrative cash cows. Until now they have tried co-operating with the Government in the hopes of softening the decree but with elections next year both sides of the political spectrum are scrambling for every possible vote.
The latest move by British bookmakers today is another sign of their level of desperation. They sent a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron that stated that the planned changes to the new offshore online gambling taxes and FOBTs would cost the industry more than 350 million pounds a year and could lead to over 2,000 betting shops being out of business.
The letter from the Association of British Bookmakers stated that the industry had already made effort to co-operate with the government and even introduced self-imposed restrictions to protect gamblers. The letter was signed by all the chief executives of all the major bookmakers including William Hill, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. The letter stated,” This dialogue has made the unexpected and punitive measures recently announced in the Budget, even more difficult to comprehend. It is often forgotten that we are the only sector that pays more in tax than we make in profit and contribute 1 billion (pounds) to the Exchequer.”
As it stands the chances of the government capitulating to bookmakers is slim as there has been a tidal wave of negative publicity on the fixed odds betting terminals which are infamously dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling.”